Saturday, January 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Probe finds 1,000 B.Ed degrees fake
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, January 17
Around 1,000 candidates selected as ETT teachers have been found to possess fake B.Ed degrees. The departmental committees formed by the Education Department to verify the degrees of the candidates selected to the posts of the ETT teachers have visited universities across the country to verify the degrees. Thousands of degrees have been found to be fake. Mr KK Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary Education, Punjab stated this at the PSEB Rest House in Anandpur Sahib today.

Mr Bhatnagar told that the report of the inquiry conducted by the Departmental Committee had been submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had ordered the probe.

Earlier taking a suo motu notice of the report published in The Tribune (Fake degree holders get teacher’s posts) the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Education Department Punjab, to probe the scandal. On court direction the Education Department had formed departmental committees to verify certificates of all candidates recruited to ETT posts, who had obtained degrees from universities outside the state.

The sources said that the maximum number of fake degrees detected in probe were from the universities and institutions based in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Maximum number of fake degrees were found to be allegedly issued by the Bharatiya Shiksha Parishad and Gandhi Hindi Vidhya Peeth both based in Uttar Pradesh and Maghad University of Madhya Pradesh.

The sources said that certain officials of the Maghad University were also alleged to be involved in the issuing of fake degrees. They used to send fake verifications of the degrees issued with their connivance.

The police, last year arrested the Joint Controller and PA to Vice-Chancellor of the university in the fake degrees racket, The inquiry has also detected many serious anomalies in the selection of 7230 ETT teachers selection for whom was probed. In many cases it was found that certain candidates who did not even possess the basic qualification advertised for the post were selected for the posts. Many candidates who had diploma in physical education as their basic qualification were selected against the ETT posts despite the fact that there was no provision in advertisement.

On the action to be taken against the officials responsible for recruiting candidates possessing fake degrees, Mr Bhatnagar said that action would be taken after the court verdict. Certain officials selected the candidates who had degrees from Maghad and other institutions which were blacklisted by the Punjab Government. So, the dereliction in duty on their part would invite disciplinary action, he said.

The sources added that besides the recent recruitments many teachers have also received promotions and other benefits on the basis of the fake degrees obtained from universities outside the state. If the government after a probe into the matter effects the recovery of benefits claimed illegally by the candidates, crores of public money would be saved.

Mr Bhatnagar added that the probe into the degrees of candidates who got promotion benefits on the basis of degrees from outside the state would be conducted after the court directive in the fake degree racket case.

After the verdict the government might also consider blacklisting certain universities, he added.


SGPC staff, dera men clash
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 17
Baba Major Singh (Dera Shaheed Baba Tara Singh) Waan village, was injured in a fight between his followers and SGPC employees in the district courts here today.

The fight led to opening of fire by the official gunman of Baba Major Singh in the court complex even as both the warring groups accused each other of triggering violence during the melee. Mr Raghbir Singh, personal assistant to the SGPC chief, who (Mr Raghbir Singh) was present in the court, alleged that Baba Major Singh had opened firer from the official weapon of the Special Police Officer himself. However, Baba Major Singh alleged that he was injured by an SGPC man with a sword.

The incident was allegedly the fallout of an old land dispute between the SGPC and Baba Major Singh, Mr Raghbir Singh alleged that Baba Major Singh had threatened to kill him when Gurdwara Shaheed Tara Singh was taken over by the SGPC. He claimed that the gurdwara was being run by the notified gurdwara committee while Baba Major Singh countered that it was a dera. Mr Raghbir Singh alleged that Dosanjh Singh, an employee of the SGPC, was injured by the followers of the Baba. However, Baba Major Singh alleged that SGPC men, led by Mr Raghbir Singh, chased him with a view to harm him physically and he was injured with a sword.

Mr Shiv Kumar Verma S.P. (City-II) said eight persons, including SGPC employees, had been rounded up for further investigations.

Mr Raghbir Singh, in a letter to senior police officials said, his life should be protected. He has also moved an application in the district court to shift the case from Civil Court, Patti, to Amritsar.


PSEB to face tough grilling
Power purchase agreement with private firm
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The PSEB Management should be ready for grilling on the power purchase agreement with a private firm, which has not supplied a single unit to it so far since December 2, the day Mr Padamjit Singh, who opposed the agreement, was shifted from the post of Chief Engineer, System Operations. This grilling now will be through the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission. As per the rules and regulations of the commission’s Act, 1998, it was mandatory for the PSEB to get the power purchase agreement regulated from the commission.

PSERC sources said the PSEB had not yet supplied any document on the agreement. “We do not know at what price the power was to be supplied by the private company”, said a member of the commission. Under what circumstances the offer to purchase power was made to a particular firm and why the tender route was not followed ?”. This is also a mystery.

It may be mentioned that following the removal of Mr Padamjit Singh from the post, a big controversy has broken out in the PSEB and in the state over the power purchase agreement.

The sources said the PSEB had approached the commission for the purchase of 1500 million units of power a few weeks ago. Backing up the PSEB, the state government wrote to the commission to allow the board to buy 1500 million units of power. However, the commission wrote back to the Government to justify the need for purchasing the power. Then the Government shifted its stand and instead of backing the PSEB, it asked the commission to take a decision on merit.

The sources said that now the PSEB’s case to buy power would be subjected to public hearing along with its petition for revision of the power tariff. Before regulating any power purchase agreement or giving permission to buy power, the commission is supposed to apply its mind on several questions such as justification to buy power, its cost, price factor, sources of supply etc.

“With the setting up of the PSERC, the consumer has become the king who can question any agreement of the PSEB through the commission. The PSEB would have to put all facts about the agreement before the commission as well as those taking part in the public hearings”, said a senior functionary of the commission. “Now we assure a 3 per cent rate of return on its total assets to the PSEB by revising the power tariff. Since that money is paid by the consumer, he is required to be satisfied on the expenditure made by the board on power purchase etc,” he added.

The purchase of power from central power generation projects is not to be put up before the commission as such purchases are regularised by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. It may be mentioned that the PSEB signed two agreements in the first week of November last year with the NPTC for round-the-clock supply of 50 MW from the eastern region and of 100 MW for 18 hours a day from May 1 — when power consumption is at its peak in Punjab — at a rate of 207 paise per unit. However, both these agreements could not be enforced as the private firm made the PSEB bulldoze these aside and entered the scene itself.


Help of political parties sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 17
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) today urged the leaders of all political parties, social organisations and intellectuals to compel the Punjab Government to accept the demand of the IMA with regard to the arrest of all “guilty” persons involved in the multi-crore kidney racket.

Dr Surinder Singla, state secretary of the IMA, today said that the Punjab unit of the IMA was holding a state-level meeting of its council on January 19 at Ludhiana to discuss the “biased” policy of the state government with regard to the racket as the IMA felt that only doctors were being targeted while all other persons involved in the racket had been left untouched so far. He said the IMA was also of the view that besides the doctors, politicians, government officials and other sections of society were also involved in the racket, according to reports.

Dr Singla, on behalf of the IMA, also warned the state government that if the nexus was not fully exposed soon, the IMA would be compelled to adopt an agitational path at the state level. He also clarified that the IMA had not given any call for a strike to the doctors so far.

He said the IMA would also discuss ways and means to implement various Acts, concerning the medical profession, without their violation by any one at the Ludhiana meeting which could be chaired by the state president of the IMA, Dr R.C. Garg.

Dr Singla also clarified that the Punjab IMA would not defend the “erring” members of the authorisation committee or any other doctor against whom the government had any concrete evidence, but it also sought the arrest of “guilty” persons of all other categories without further delay to expose this racket fully.

Meanwhile, the Punjab IMA has also appealed to the state government to make arrangements to ensure that patients of kidney disease, especially those requiring transplantation of kidney, did not suffer during the period of investigation into the kidney racket.

Dr Singla hoped that political parties, social organisations and intellectuals would take the appeal of the IMA seriously to compel the state government to arrest all “guilty” persons and hold a “unbiased” and a “fair” investigation into the kidney racket.


IMA, Badal for CBI probe
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur January 17
The Indian Medical Association has condemned the statement of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab against the doctors involved in the kidney scam case.

Dr Kuldip Singh, president-elect of the IMA, Punjab in a press note here today said that the statement showed the Chief Minister’s bias against the doctors. The IMA reiterated its demand for an inquiry by the CBI.

Chauke (Bathinda): Alleging that Capt Amarinder Singh was not serious in exposing the culprits in the infamous kidney sale racket. Mr Prakash Singh Badal said that the inquiry into the case should be handed over to the CBI or to a sitting judge of high court.


DEO can upgrade school
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib, January 17
In a major policy decision the Punjab government has decided to delegate powers to upgrade the schools to respective district education officers (DEOs). Any school which wants to upgrade its classes and has twenty students for the upgraded class can now apply to the respective DEO.

The Principal Secretary, Education, Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, gave this information to newsmen at Anandpur Sahib today. He was at Anandpur Sahib to preside over the concluding function of the three-day state-level science fare organised at Government Senior Secondary School for Girls here.

The department has also decided to shift the provident fund accounts of teachers to lower levels. At present the provident funds accounts of teachers were being maintained at the DPI level. The drawing and dispersing officers of provident funds of teachers were also with the respective DPIs.

However, the government has now decided to shift the provident fund accounts of lecturers in schools to DEOs. The provident fund accounts of 36,000 masters cadre posts in the state would be transferred to the respective circle education officers and those of elementary teachers to the block education officers. The said officers would also be drawing and dispersing officers for the provident funds under their control.

The government was also planning to fill 15000 vacancies in schools across the state. Due to the financial crises it was, however, being proposed that these posts should be initially filled on contract. A proposal was being submitted before the cabinet to fill the posts of ETT teachers to teach the classes upto sixth level, masters for teaching from sixth to 10th level and lecturers for teaching above the 10th level.

Initially the candidates would be recruited on a two-year contract and would be paid lesser than the full scale. However, after the completion of the contract period they would be merged in their respective cadres paid full salaries. The amount to be paid during the contract period would be decided by the cabinet, he said.

The government has also launched the Education Guarantee Scheme in the state under the Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan, under this scheme 10586 localities have been located in the state which do not have any school within a radius of one kilometer. In these localities the government would open informal schools to provide primary education to the student residing there.

The selection of teachers for these schools would be made by the village education development committees. These committees would select a 10+2 candidates, preferably a girl, from their locality to teach in the informal school. She would be paid Rs 1000 per month till the school lasts in the area, he said.

The government has launched Jan Sampark Abhiyan to check the progress of various government schemes as the mid-day meal scheme in the schools across the state. Under this scheme all officials ranging from the minister to DEOs would conduct surprise checks in the 216 education blocks of the state to check the progress of government schemes, he said.


Ministers deputed to select Cong candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee , Mr H.S. Hanspal, has deputed ministers to select Congress candidates for the post of Chairperson of block samities and zila parishads in districts. The ministers have been made the in charge of respective districts as follows: Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal ( Mansa) Chowdhary Jagjit Singh ( Amritsar) Mr Lal Singh (Ludhiana), Mr Partap Singh Bajwa (Ferozepore), Mr Tej Parkash (Ropar), Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri (Muktsar), Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra (Jalandhar), Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar (Gurdaspur), Chowdhary Santokh Singh (Moga), Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang (Hoshiarpur), Mr Sardul Singh (Patiala), Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee ( Bathinda), Mr Avtar Henry (Sangrur), Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa (Faridkot), Mr Amarjit Singh Samra (Fatehgarh Sahib) and Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma (Nawanshahr).


Probe finds tehsildar guilty
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 17
Mr Mohinder Singh Kainth, Additional Deputy Commissioner, here has indicted Mr Ravinder Walia, Tehsildar-cum-Sub Registrar, Sardulgarh for having caused Rs 1.76 lakh loss to the state. Action against Mr Walia has also been recommended. The DC Mansa Mr SK Ahluwalia on a complaint of Mr Jalaur Singh, State President of the Revolutionary Coordinator Committee, Punjab, to the Chief Minister Punjab had ordered a probe.

The inquiry says that Mr Walia registered Deed No. 989 on August 5, 2002, the deed was to be registered by the Naib Tehsildar cum Joint Sub Registrar, Jhunir, but was registered by Mr Walia and evaded Rs 1 lakh stamp duty violating notification 66/CA-2/1899 S/9 of December 21, 2001 of the Punjab government. Also Mr Walia registered adoption deed No. 30 of September 6, 2002 vide which Ganesh Singh was adopted by his uncle Niranjan Singh of Danewala village in the district and on the basis of said adoption deed, on the same day, land of Niranjan Singh was transferred in the name of Ganesh Singh vide deed of transfer of ownership No. 1075, thus evading stamp duty of Rs 27,000.

Again on September 19, 2002 by deed No. 1127, Savitri Devi sold one canal eight marlas of land for Rs 50,000 to Shanti Devi and others and the deed was registered by Mr Walia and a receipt was also issued.

When the purchaser went to take the sale deed, Mr Walia demanded stamp duty on Rs 4.2 lakh at the rate of 6 per cent saying that the sale deed was undervalued but the sale deed was already registered. On refusal of the demanded amount, Mr Walia returned the deed to the purchaser by entering the same in Bahi No. 2 whereas it was the duty of Mr Walia to impound the sale deed and send it to the District Collector, thus causing loss of Rs 29,400 to the state.

On December 18, 2002 also Jagtar Singh of Raipur village in the district, who was married transferred his land to his sister Gurmeet Kaur vide transfer deed No. 1496 and evaded Rs 4,900 a stamp duty violating the notification of the government.

Sources said that Mr Walia was allegedly being protected by a ruling politician of the area.


Panel to review water charges
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 17
Municipal Councillors here criticised corruption in the Building Department of the Municipal Corporation at a meeting of the House today.

Majority of the councillors spoke against Municipal Town Planner B.R. Batra allegedly for being incompetent and indulging in corruption and demanded his suspension.

Reports of encroachments on Municipal land, reselling and subletting of corporation lands also came up for discussion. Flouting of building laws and connivance of assistant town planners for allowing violations in building under construction was also raised.

Mayor Sunil Dutti and Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir came under fire for overlooking violations in the commercial make-up of the city. The city’s sanitation was also criticised.

Mr Batra refuted allegations and said disgruntled elements were against him.

The meeting sought that the three elegant clubs in the city should be asked either to vacate or extend their expired leases. The land, encroached upon by these clubs, should be reclaimed and new lease deeds be prepared for the same.

The House resolved to set up two committees to review the water and sewerage tariff. Another committee would review the cases of contract labour numbering 70 which came up for renewal or regularisation. The Mayor announced fresh interviews for these posts and set one month for the review of these cases in keeping with the requirements and competence of staff. Mr Jasbir Singh, Commissioner, clarified that 42 commercial buildings were under review by the cabinet sub-committee, hence a decision of final rates was awaited. The meeting ended without fresh development plans for the city.


Verification of names of voters ordered
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 17
Taking note of the complaint filed by Mr Vinay Mahajan, president of the Sujanpur Municipal Council, and others, Mr C.L. Bains, State Election Commissioner, has ordered re-verification of wrongful deletion and inclusion of the names of voters in 13 Wards of the municipal council.

The Election Commissioner has also directed the District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, to complete the inquiry within 10 day and submit a report.

The Sujanpur Municipal Council had passed a resolution relating to preparation of bogus votes in the electoral roll.


Plan to make grocery stores ration depots
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, January 17
The Punjab Government is formulating a policy for fair price depots to function from private grocery stores across the state. Announcing this, Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh said that this is being done to make the operation of the ration depots financially viable and to reduce the scope of cheating.

The minister was talking to mediapersons after inaugurating the Oil Conservation Fortnight-2003, Punjab, at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium auditorium here today.

The minister showed his disappointment with the Central Government by alleging that it was meting out step motherly treatment to the Punjab farmers. ‘‘The Vajpayee government has not fulfilled any of the tall promises it has made. The Centre is not giving us permission to sell our sugar lying in their stocks. They owe us Rs 430 crore out of which the farmers have to be paid Rs 89 crore. If the farmers are taking to the streets then the Central Government is answerable for the some. But we have still managed to collect money from other sources and give them Rs 12.70 crore following which they have called off their agitation,’’ he pointed out.

Asked if the Punjab farmer would get any drought relief from the Centre, the minister stated that the case had been forward to the Centre but they were simply sitting on the matter.

The minister also lamented that the Centre had so far not released either the Rs 350 crore wheat package promised to the Badal government nor the Rs 300 crores promised at the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa. ‘‘The Rs 20 additional bonus on the support price of wheat announced by the Centre for farmers is also yet to reach. We, on our own have given the farmers Rs 30 as bonus.’’

Commenting on the financial situation of the state, the minister said the situation was still grim but things were certainly looking up. ‘‘We have managed to increase our revenue this year by Rs 700 crore and if we continue like this in another year we will be rather comfortably placed.’’

Speaking at the function, the minister highlighted the necessity of conserving oil and other related aspects of environment pollution. ‘Punjab has one of the largest consumption of petroleum products and steps taken by each user would go a long way in saving precious foreign exchange by the country.’’he said.

A group of schoolchildren from DAV Sr Sec School, Kurali, and National Public School, Kurali, presented a colourful show on the theme of oil conservation. The chief guest also released a bunch of balloons to commemorate the oil conservation fortnight. An oath to conserve oil was also taken by all those present.


Punjab employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Employees belonging to boards, corporations and cooperative institutions of the Punjab Government held a state-level protest rally at Matka Chowk here yesterday, asking the government to implement the decisions taken at a meeting held last year between the Chief Minister and the representatives of the employees.

The rally was held in response to a call by the Punjab State Cooperatives, Boards, Corporations Workers/Employees Maha Sangh. A similar rally was held on July 23 last year when the Chief Minister’s representatives called the leaders of the employees for discussions. The major demands of the employees include rejection of Vaishnav Commission’s report, reversal of the decision to roll back allowances and reduction in pay in the name of party and withdrawal of the “anti-employee budget proposals” etc.

The state government constituted a committee to look into these demands. However, nothing concrete emerged, which forced the employees to take to the path of agitation. The rally was addressed, among others, by Mr Nirmal Singh Ghuman, Mr G.S. Oberoi, Mr Gurdip Singh,Mr Om Parkash, Mr S.K. Bhanot and other employees leaders.


CBI probe into appointments of Naib Tehsildars sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Acting on a petition seeking independent probe preferably by the CBI into the alleged irregular appointments of naib tehsildars during the tenure of Mr Sanjit Sinha — now Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed that a copy of the inquiry report in the matter should be handed over to the petitioner.

In his petition filed “in public interest”, Maj Harmohinder Singh of Chandigarh had alleged that the appointments, as per the inquiry report, had been made in violation of the government norms. He had added that Mr Sinha, as reported in the media, “had been indicted for the irregular appointments during his tenure as Patiala Commissioner”.

Quoting newspaper reports, he had added that “an inquiry was ordered in the matter to be conducted by then Punjab Financial Commissioner K.S. Janjua. He had “found that serious irregularities had been committed by Mr Sinha in the appointments of naib tehsildars”. The report, he had asserted, was submitted to the Chief Secretary in 1997, but no action has been taken against him till date. The clout and influence of Mr Sinha could be imagined by this, he had added.

The investigation, he had concluded, “should be handed over to some independent agency like the CBI so that the truth could be unearthed and culprits brought to book. It was astonishing that all those even remotely connected with the PPSC scam had either been removed from service or were behind the bars while the man indicted for committing serious irregularities was sitting pretty and was himself the head of the Vigilance Department”.

MLA seeks pre-arrest bail

Taking up a petition filed by MLA Rattan Singh Ajnala seeking the grant of anticipatory bail in “any first information report registered against him”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for February 3.

In his petition, Dr Ajnala had also sought directions for the issuance of a seven-day notice, in alternative, in case any FIR was registered against him and he was required to be arrested.

Accusing the “present government” of having adopted a revengeful attitude towards its opponents, particularly leaders of the SAD he had added that the authorities feared exposure by them.

Giving details, he had asserted that the “government had adopted a policy of arresting them on trumped up charges on the pretext of weeding out corruption and was going out of the way to discredit and demoralise them”.

Counsel had added that the SAD leaders had been arrested against the law laid down by the Supreme Court invariably on the basis of ‘secret information’ received by the Vigilance authorities. They were paraded before the media. This was not all. Efforts were made to “extort confessions from them” while they were under duress in police custody.

The unsuspecting public, he had added, were fed with details of their alleged misdeeds which could not withstand legal scrutiny. In the process, the authorities ended up doing incalculable damage to the reputation and political standing of the “persons concerned”.

Referring to two writ petitions filed by Dr Ajnala regarding the registration of cases against former Congress ministers and revamping of the Vigilance Bureau, counsel had added that the petitioner had been raising his voice against the “malfunctioning” and “partisan attitude” despite the prevailing atmosphere of intimidation and fear.

Minibus permits

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today impressed upon Secretary with the Patiala Regional Transport Authority to decide the applications for mini bus permits in accordance with the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

Appearing before a Division Bench of the High Court on a petition filed by transporter Maggar Singh, Mr Harmail Singh undertook that he would decide all applications, keeping in the view the Supreme Court judgement, by March 15. After hearing the arguments, the Judges fixed March 21 as the next date of hearing in the case.


Villagers allege misuse of phone exchange
Our Correspondent

Mansa, January 17
Residents of Kotli Kalan village in the district have complained to the Subdivisional Engineer (SDE), Telecom, Mansa, and sent copies of the complaint to the Union Communication Minister, and the General Manager, Telecom, Bathinda, stating that the keys of the telephone exchange of the village remain with a private person who connect calls to distant places without collecting any revenue for the department.

They alleged that the exchange was found without staff a number of times and their complaints remained unattended for many days.

They alleged that on December 16, 2002, labour of the department disconnected the wires of their telephones from the distribution point (DP) and their complaints were still unattended.

When contacted, the District Engineer, Telephones (DET), Mansa, Mr V.K. Verma showed his ignorance about the complaint. When this correspondent showed him the copy of the complaint, then he called the SDE, Telecom, Mansa, Mr K.L. Tanwar, who apprised the DET of the complaint.

Mr Verma said the keys of the exchange at Kotli Kalan remained with the security officer of the department at the Bhaini Bhaga exchange in the district. The same were never given to any private person. Mr Verma denied that any private person had ever used the exchange to make calls free of cost.


Mann’s posers to Nandgarh
Jaswinder Paul Singh

Bathinda, January 17
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, SAD (A), in a letter to Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Takht Damdama Sahib, has asked him whether he supported the resolution about Sikh sovereignty passed in 1946 by the SGPC.

Mr Mann said that Mr Badal drifted away from the 1973 Anandpur Sahib Resolution at a meeting of the SAD (B) at Moga in 1996 and deleted words Sikh and Panth from the party vocabulary. He asked Mr Nandgarh whether he accepted the deletion. Mr Mann wanted Mr Nandgarh to clarify whether he was in favour of sending jathas to Pakistan.

The SAD (A) chief asked Mr Nandgarh: “Whether or not you are in favour of destroying nuclear weapons in India and Pakistan?”

The SAD (A) leaders belonging from Mansa and Bathinda districts, including Mr Barinder Singh Mann, Mr Gursewak Singh Jawaharke, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kingra, Mr Maingal Singh Bhagbander, Mr Harpal Singh Chakattarsinghwala and Mr Balwant Singh Bangi presented the letter to Mr Nandgarh today at Talwandi Saboo.


An apology for parks
Varinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Terming a number of once-green and well-maintained patches in different localities of Jalandhar as parks may be a misnomer these days, thanks to the apathy of the local Municipal Corporation authorities towards the maintenance of public parks. Instead of lushgreen grass and a variety of flowers, these were now full with wild vegetation and attracted stray animals. While the boundary walls of a number of parks have got broken, iron grills and tree guards have been removed by anti-social elements in the absence of gardeners in a few others.

While the civic body has a sufficient number of gardeners on its rolls, the maintenance of public parks has been suffering because these gardeners are sent instead for the maintenance of parks and gardens at the private residences of top officials.

During a round of various public parks, a Tribune team found that not a single park was maintained in a proper manner. Most parks in the city were full of wild vegetation, apart from having become “deras” of stray animals.

Ironically, the worst-maintained was the Old Baradari Park, facing the residences of top administrative officials, including the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police, which was once a favourite haunt of morning walk addicts. The park, set up with a grant provided under the MP’s Local Area Development Scheme, was bereft of iron fencing at a number of places. So much so that one side of the park, facing the residence of the Deputy Commissioner, was being used by people for dumping garbage. The flower beds were only in name as wild vegetation and grass have replaced the once-beautiful rose plants. Interestingly, though the park was provided with a tubewell about two years ago, it has never been used till date as the corporation reportedly failed to find some VIP for its formal inauguration. There was no gardener to take care of the park, which could be otherwise turned into the most beautiful place of the city if maintained properly.

Similar is the condition of the once-beautiful Adarash Nagar park, where the lone tubewell has not been working for the past about four years. This has led to the drying up of grass patches and flower beds. Sources in the civic body maintained that though complaints were lodged by the gardener of the park and residents of the area, these fell on deaf ears. Residents claimed that they had never seen any sweeper coming to the park, though a sweeper was reportedly deployed for its upkeep by the civic body.

Similarly, the parks in Lajpat Nagar and New Jawahar Nagar have gradually got converted into simple enclosures of land as these had no flower beds or grass patches. “Nobody has ever come here to plant flowers or saplings. People use this park mostly for keeping construction material for their houses,” said Sanjit, a resident of New Jawahar Nagar.


Power bills through post offices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Electricity consumers of Patiala district will not have to stand in queues anymore to deposit their electricity bills, as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has entered into an agreement with the Department of Posts. The consumers in the district can now deposit their bills at 133 branches of the department.

An agreement in this regard was signed today by the Senior Superintendent Engineer, PSEB (Operations), Patiala circle, and the Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Patiala postal division. According to the agreement, the consumers can deposit their electricity bills in two head post offices of Patiala and Rajpura, 32 sub post offices and 99 branch post offices of the Patiala postal division.

The scheme has been started as a pilot project and will be run on a trial basis for next six months. The facility will be extended to the public in the rest of the state, depending upon the experience.

A senior official of the PSEB said post offices would accept cash payments up to a limit of Rs 5,000. He said the post offices were likely to accept 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh electricity bills, every month.


Two die as bus hits tractor-trailer
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 17
Two persons, Avtar Singh (47) and Banesha Mukhia (18) were killed today when the tractor-trailer they were travelling in was hit by a bus near JCT Mill on GT Road. Six passengers of the bus sustained minor injuries.

While Avtar Singh was a farmer and belonged to nearby Rampa village, Banesha Mukhia was a migrant Nepali farm labourer.

The trolley was coming from Mukandpur village and carried fodder.

The accident occurred in early hours due to poor visibility caused by thick fog.

The police has registered a case.


Roadways staff observe strike
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 17
Punjab Roadways employees of the Nangal and Ropar depots today observed a strike on a call of their state bodies.

They held gate rallies in front of their respective depots.

Employees at Nangal observed a fast to protest against the proposed policy on privatisation.

The employees demanded that the government should complete the 2,700 bus fleet of Punjab Roadways and opposed the winding up of depots.


Action sought against ANM
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 17
The civil hospital authorities yesterday asked the police to initiate action against the auxillary nurse midwife (ANM) who had aborted a foetus at Pakka Kalan village earlier this month, which had endangered the life of the pregnant woman.

Dr S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, said ANMs were not trained to carry out abortion. He said it was to be ascertained whether it was a case of female foeticide.

As per information, Amarjeet Kaur of Pakka Kalan village went in for abortion on January 4. She was operated upon at the village, by an ANM, posted at a government hospital in the district. After the operation, Amarjeet Kaur became critical. She was admitted to a local private hospital on January 5, where she had to be operated upon. Sources said she was out of danger now.


Four bodies taken out of canal
Tribune News Service

Lambi (Muktsar), January 17
The bodies of Dr Balwant Singh, his son Monu, Rinku, son of Parminder Kaur (nurse) and Sukhdeep Kaur, wife of Nikka Singh, were taken out from the Sirhind feeder canal by divers, summoned by the district administration, and residents of Chunnu village today.

The jeep in which they along with nine others were going to Muktsar fell into the canal yesterday afternoon.

Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, ADC, Muktsar, who supervised the operation, said the bodies had been sent to the Civil Hospital, Malout, for post-mortem.

Of the 13 occupants of the jeep, eight persons were brought out yesterday. Two of these persons died. The body of eight-year-old Charan, son of Dr Balwant Singh, was yet to be taken out. The search operation would continue tomorrow, Mr Bhatti said.


Sugar mill shut down
Tribune News Service

Malout, January 17
A loss of more than Rs 40 lakh has been caused to the local cooperative sugar mill, being run by Markfed, following its shut-down on January 15. The Turbine alternator was damaged due to a short circuit.

Official sources said that it would take 10 days to repair the alternator. As many as 150 daily wagers have been removed from job temporarily. The sugarcane to be crushed has been shifted to cooperative sugar mills at Faridkot and Fazilka.

The mill was to crush about 30 lakh quintal sugarcane for which it had an agreement with the farmers of the region. So far the mill has crushed only 6 lakh quintals of sugarcane.


Fortis to hold health camp tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 17
The Fortis Heart Institute and Multi-Speciality Hospital, as part of its outreach programme, will organise a free multi-speciality health check-up camp in association with the Rotary Club, South East, at Anoop Hospital, Guru Hargobindnagar, here on Sunday. A press note said the Deputy Commissioner of Kapurthala, Mr Rakesh Verma, will be the chief guest.

Mr R.V. Karenjekar, Medical Director, Fortis Heart Institute and Multi-Speciality Hospital, will also visit the health camp.


3,000 donate blood
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 17
A blood donation camp was organised at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium by the Department of Youth Services and Sports in collaboration with the district administration and various NGOs.

More than 3,000 persons from Bathinda, Faridkot and Ferozepore donated blood thereby creating a new record.

More than 38 medical teams from all over Punjab came to collect blood.


R-day function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Punjab Governor J.R.F. Jacob will unfurl the National Flag at a state-level function at Fatehgarh Sahib on Republic Day. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will unfurl the flag at Sangrur while Speaker Kewal Krishan will do so at Patiala. An official spokesman said here today.


‘9,000 houses to be constructed’
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, January 17
Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Minister for Urban Development, told mediapersons here today that the Punjab Government had decided to construct 9,000 houses in the state at a cost of Rs 500 crore during the next financial year.

Of this, Rs 200 crore would be spent on the construction of 4-marla houses for the economically weak. These houses would be allotted through draw of lots and the post would be recovered easy instalments.

Mr Puri said the remaining Rs 300 crore would be spent on the construction of flates, MIG and HIG houses. The cost of these flats and houses would be around Rs 6.5 lakh each.

Mr Puri said PUDA had decided to build urban estates in all cities in the state.

Mr Puri said the rules for the construction of new colonies were being relaxed and henceforth 35 per cent of the area against - 40 per cent earlier would have to be earmarked in the new colonies for parks, school and dispensary.

He said PUDA proposed to build a district administrative complex in Gurdaspur.


5.6 cr sanctioned for development
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 17
Mr DPS Kharbanda, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said here yesterday that the district had been sanctioned Rs 5.6 crore for development projects.

In a press note, Mr Kharbanda said the grant would be used for development purposes, including electricity through solar photovoltaic cells, biomass and windmills. He said parks would also be set up in rural areas.


Executive engineer held for graft
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 17
Mr Gurmail Singh, Executive Engineer, Irrigation and Drainage Department, Punjab, posted at Mansa, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau today from his house in Sector 8 in Chandigarh for allegedly for having assets disproportionate to known sources of income.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance), Bathinda, in a press note here today, said that Mr Gurmail Singh, he was SDO, Mansa from 1990 to 1995 in the Drainage Department, acquired assets worth Rs 17.50 lakh in the name of his kin.

He added that Mr Gurmail Singh started staying in Sector 8, Chandigarh after disposing of his house located in another sector. The search of his house by the bureau team was on.


Schoolchildren clean garbage
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 17
Students of the local Punjab Public School today removed the garbage dumped near their school themselves instead of waiting for the authorities to do so.

The students of classes IX and X cleaned the area as the requests of residents, the school authorities and NGOs to the authorities concerned for removing the garbage dumped at a vacant site in the local Gopal Nagar yielded no result. When the students started cleaning the area, other residents and volunteers of an NGO also joined them in the drive.

Mr Baljit Singh, President of the Sahjog Welfare Club, said the residents of the colony informed the authorities concerned about dumping of garbage in the area, but nobody bothered to remove it. He said besides the garbage, drain water also collected there, adding that the students voluntarily cleaned up the place.


Conference ends
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 17
The three-day 19th international Punjabi development conference concluded at Punjabi University here today. Over 350 delegates from India and abroad took part in the conference in which 30 scholars presented their papers on various aspects of development of the Punjabi language literature and culture.

Mr N.S. Rattan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education stressed upon the need for more such conferences. Deliberations of the conference would be of great use for the development of the Punjabi language, literature and culture, he said.


Camp for lecturers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 17
The North India Technical Consultancy Organisation organised a week-long camp for lecturers of local engineering and polytechnic colleges here recently. It was attended by 24 lecturers, according to a press note.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |